Competition Body to Review Sky's ITV Stake
LONDON: The UK's biggest commercial broadcaster, ITV, has appointed former BSkyB managing director of channels and services, Dawn Airey, to the role of director of global content.
Airey, who began her television career as an ITV trainee in 1985, will rejoin the company in October - pending non-compete negotiations with Sky - and will report to chief operating officer John Cresswell.
Her responsibilities will encompass ITV Productions, Granada Ventures, Granada International and ITV's international production businesses in Australia, Germany and the US.
Gushed Airey: "It's wonderful to return to my alma mater. It's an incredibly exciting time to be joining ITV and I'm looking forward to working with some of the UK's best production talent."
Her past roles in TV include a stint as ceo of commercial rival Five. She left Sky earlier this year to join fledgling media group Iostar, but funding issues prompted her to walk out eight days into the new job.
ITV, under the executive chairmanship of Michael Grade, is struggling with declining audience figures and advertising revenues at its flagship ITV1 channel [WARC News: 11-Apr-07]. Grade said recently he viewed production for the international market as a potential growth area.
Prompted by consumer and regulatory concerns, the UK Department of Trade and Industry has decreed that BSkyB's purchase of a 17.9% stake in ITV [WARC News: 20-Nov-06] warrants investigation by the Competition Commission.
NewsCorp-controlled Sky snatched the shares in a bid to scupper a mooted merger between ITV and cable giant NTL, now rebranded Virgin Media.
The Competition Commission probe, expected to last up to six months, could decree that Sky give up some (or all) of its voting rights in ITV, or reduce the size of the stake.
Or it could rule that the holding does not constitute a problem.
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk/Reuters; additional content by WARC staff